Celebrating 20 years of Panjabi MC's 5th album "Legalised", one of the biggest selling Bhangra albums ever made, originally released in 1998. "Not only did it sell more units than any tape, but it was the first hit tape at a £5 retail price, boosting both the bhangra industry and PMC’s reputation".
Listen to the Legalised album YouTube playlist
"Legalised has given me so many new ideas."
Article from 1998
Legalised, the fifth album installment from PMC aims to pull off a difficult trick: staying true to the Bhangra/Remix scene while pulling in the mainstream and world music audience that only a select number of Indian artists have ever attracted. Those new to the name and the music are the audience that need to sample and taste PMC's insidious blend of ersatz delights. Ask the thousands of people who bought the debut album, Souled Out (1993) and Grass Roots (1996). Or the masses who have recently acquired the singles Jatt Ho Giya Sharabee and Mirza Part Two, which gave yet-another lease of life to the vocals to two of Punjabi's premier vocalists Kuldip Manak and Surinder Shinda." (1998)
PMC prides himself on being more listener-friendly than a lot of other producers and remixers.
"This music (Bhangra made outside of India) has wasted so many opportunities. It has always had great lyrics but is often held back by the musical content. Even though I'm using modern technology I'm employing traditional ways of moving people - like songs and chord structures - and a lot of it is built around what the people on the street, the people buying the music, are saying."
As Panjabi MC chills for the imminent release of Legalised, which features the classic sound's of Gurdas Maan's Challa, a new track by Labh Janjhua featuring a "I've-heard-that-before-hook," (Nightrider theme) the revitalized sound of the late Lalchand YamlaJatt and others, the sheer success of his past releases means that he is big business and that the pressure is on for Legalised to continue that trend. The instrumentation and loops are tight and add to his laid back grooves which are static and blunting at the same time. PMC's phrasing and somewhat creamy vocals lace some tracks with poetic ease keeping the music flowing as his rhymes are recited over the stunning phat beats mirrored against the irritatingly infectious hooks.
"Making my debut album was relaxing and more of a hobby," he says ruefully, but accepts that such indulgence is a thing of the past. "It's a different ethos a different vibe this time round, but it's my job to keep the business side locked out of the recording process."
It's anticipated that Panjabi MC's Legalised has gave us and the Bhangra market a severe jolt. The hype and feedback, especially via the Internet, has given the album a huge impetus to succeed without fear. Regardless, his message is clear to those who await it's release around the world,
"I'm still young, ambitious and definitely serious. Legalised is my best release to date,without fail."
Panjabi MC Interview - 1998
Sukhdev Singh Rathore.